The R&B pair of Beyoncé Knowles and R. Kelly reigned at the 2003 Billboard Music Awards, each grabbing four prizes. Kelly, whose single ”Ignition (Remix)” ruled the charts this year despite looming child-porn charges, snagged Hot 100 producer, R&B producer, R&B songwriter, and Hot 100 songwriter awards. And clean-living Beyoncé, who kicked off her solo career with the smash ”Crazy in Love,” won Hot 100 female artist, new R&B artist, new female artist of the year, and a special prize for spending the most weeks at No. 1 in the Hot 100, Billboard’s pop chart. ”This has been an incredible year,” the once and future Destiny’s Child frontwoman told the crowd.
50 Cent, meanwhile, won three awards, including the top honor, artist of the year — but didn’t show up to accept it. Fellow rappers Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz also won three prizes, as did pop-country star Shania Twain. Other big winners included Audioslave, 3 Doors Down, and Sting, who got the Century Award, a lifetime achievement prize. OutKast, meanwhile, won a most-downloaded digital track award for Andre 3000’s inescapable ”Hey Ya.” The Billboard Awards are derived directly from artists’ chart performance, which tends to cut down on suspense at the ceremony.